As you plan travel for 2013, consider these five Western destinations where history, character and adventure combine for family fun.
1 Telluride, Colo.: This National Historic Landmark district, tucked within a box canyon and protected by towering, 14,000-foot peaks, provides a breathtaking setting for a family getaway any time of year. Top-ranked alpine skiing gives way to fly-fishing, hiking and biking amid wildflowers come summer. It’s also a cultural haven, with year-round festivals celebrating film, music and art. A free gondola connects the historic town with the more modern Mountain Village. At 9,500 feet, the enclave is home to the Telluride Ski Resort.
2 Sisters, Ore.: In Central Oregon, you’ll find a comfortable combination of outdoor adventure, chic restaurants and a hip art and music scene. Named for a nearby trio of peaks, the truck stop turned trendy small town offers year-round family-friendly activities including fishing derbies, quilt shows, rafting, skiing, hiking and boating.
Contact: 800-547-7842; traveloregon.com
3 Red Lodge, Mont.: Sample Western hospitality in this historic community known as a gateway to Yellowstone National Park. Set out for the spectacular Beartooth Highway, a winding, cliff-hugging 68-mile stretch that delivers on its promise to provide some of the most stunning vistas in America. In addition to several local galleries, the town hosts a ski-joring competition in winter and pig races in summer.
Contact: 406-446-4402; redlodge.com
4 Cody, Wyo.: Summer means nightly calf-roping and bronc-riding at this small town’s popular rodeo. Offering outdoor adventures including hiking, biking, horseback riding and trout fishing, Cody is also home to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, where five museums provide plenty to interest every family member. Stay at the Irma, a colorful inn on the main drag, built by Buffalo Bill and named for his daughter.
Contact: 800-393-2639; yellowstonecountry.org
5 Williams, Ariz.: Named after “Old Bill” Williams, a trapper, trader and mountain man, this town just west of Flagstaff is proud of what locals say is the best preserved stretch of Route 66. Visit Bearazona, a wildlife park, before hopping aboard the vintage Grand Canyon Railway train for a trip to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. Choose from various packages, some of which include a night’s stay within Grand Canyon National Park before returning to Williams.
Dallas Morning News